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A large number of whales and dolphins, calm seas, and good whale antics

Image: a sideways surface lunge-feeding humpback whale.

2023 09-15 SB Channel

The high stratus layer was denser and more persistent near the coast. Offshore we found a few sunny patches. Seas were calm and there was a light breeze in the offshore waters. Sightings were excellent: 400 California sea lions, 5500 long-beaked common dolphins and 9 humpback whales.

We were 4 miles outbound on a southwesterly heading when we encountered scattered, often large, groups of dolphins mixed with sea lions and sea birds. Some birdnados formed in the area. A single eastbound whale got a few looks from us, but due to its heading and long dive times, we soon turned back to our original heading.

We moved more west than south, and found four more, individual whales, about 1 mile from each other. They came together briefly and, coincidentally, made a very close pass by the Condor Express. We hypothesized they were otherwise feeding sub-surface.

Huge numbers of dolphins were watched in The Lanes. Mobs of sea lions were there, as were the predatory sea birds. Four more individual whales were watched. Two came together and did some surface sideways lunges (See today’s photograph for an example). As we drifted along, watching this feeding episode, another one of the other whales was on its side, slapping its long pectorals.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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